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Sew! Let’s Get Dressed – Placing Knit Prints to Complement the Body

In any garment sewing, it is wise to be observant when placing a print on the body.  Usually I am trying not to draw attention to my bust line and full arms, so my habit is to drape my printed fabric on the dress form or over my body in front of the mirror and make an honest assessment.

Scroll & Dots Tee - front
Scroll & Dots Tee – front


Knits seem to be particularly tricky with regard to the print effect.  I guess it is because they are so soft and drapey.  I am often caught off guard by the drama of a particular print.  This Tabula Rasa Knit Tee is a fine example.  When I purchased it, I thought the fabric had an overall floral, but it took quite a bit of maneuvering to place the print gracefully.


Let’s look at a couple of other prints to imagine their possibilities.

Knit with design placed near the hem of the imaginary garment
Knit with design placed near the hem of the imaginary garment

Because I have not mastered the art of the selfie, I enlisted the help of my sewing friend and Eureka! Pants Professional, Edye Sanford.  In the first photo, she is holding up a beautiful piece of green silk jersey.  Don’t you love the lovely spring scene of branches, blossoms and birds in a wide repeat.


First we tried the branches near the hem, and then we shifted the yardage to position the pattern closer to the chest.

Pattern draped higher.
Pattern draped higher.

Which placement do you prefer?  I chose to use the branches in the shoulders and chest with the hope that the pretty pattern would draw attention to my face.  While it ended up a bit busy over my bust, I think the tunic came out nicely and I enjoy wearing it.

Here is the tunic, ready for spring occasions.
Here is the tunic, ready for spring occasions.




The second fabric is a cotton and lycra jersey. I hope to stitch it up and wear it this spring.  It has more of an allover print, but its scale and composition were surprising to me when Edye held it up.  As you can see, the pattern  seems too reflective of the female form as it is draped in the first photo.

Centered knit
Centered knit

But, when the pattern was shifted 8” to the right, the pattern seemed random rather than suggestive.



photo blue knit 1
Off centered print, which I prefer.

Which pattern placement do you prefer on this purple, blue and green knit?  Have you ever been surprised by the way a print fell on the body?




I get a real kick out of sewing blogger Oonaballoona.  She recently wrote about a dress she made where the print was quite artfully positioned!  I love it on her, as does her entourage, but I am quite sure I am not that bold!


Happy Sewing,  RAE

3 thoughts on “Sew! Let’s Get Dressed – Placing Knit Prints to Complement the Body

  1. So clever. Thanks. Pictures are soooo much better than a mirror which will lie each and every time I look. And I am in love with that green. I have never seen a silk jersey that gorgeous. You totally nailed all of these prints.

    1. thanks Martha, The green fabric is unusually lovely. RAE

  2. Good examples of thinking outside the box. I have a couple pieces of fabric in my stash that I will look at differently now! Good job Edye!

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